Alberta Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky rolled back another unpopular health care decision Wednesday by announcing a delay to seniors' drug plan changes that were to take effect in July.So hospital and psychiatric bed cuts canceled or at least disguised with rhetoric a little better, no more public plans to de-list services, the centralization of ambulance services put on hold and now a politically suicidal attack on seniors drug benefits frozen for further 'review'.
The plan has been delayed to make changes to regulations and legislation, as well as to get it in line with other programs for seniors. The current plan, where seniors pay 30 per cent of the cost of each prescription to a maximum of $25, will stay in place.
"We do have proposals for changes that would bring in a new seniors' drug program that are not yet ready to go ahead," Zwozdesky said, "And we'll take the time necessary to review everything, make sure that we get it right and that we haven't rushed it along and come to the wrong conclusions."
But the fundamental policy fallacy at the center of Liepert's benighted leadership of Alberta's medical system was the amalgamation of the regional health boards into one provincial super board. It was a policy move that was never about making healthcare administration more efficient or effective, just quieter.
The regional boards had a distressing tendency to emphasize the needs of their regions rather than those of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party.
The Superboard remains. The quiet starving of social spending that the government is desperately trying to hide by promptly reversing themselves whenever confronted with the very visible results from 'invisible' funding cuts continues.
The current, flailing desperation of the government of Alberta means almost any of their policies could be reversed right now with enough bad PR, but this unusual receptiveness to course correction is based on short term panic. It doesn't represent a real change in the arrogant entitlement to power we've all come to know and loathe in the Conservatives.